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TotalEnergies preparing Port Arthur, Texas FCC for restart, sources say

FILE PHOTO: Logo of French oil and gas company TotalEnergies in La Defense

By Erwin Seba

HOUSTON (Reuters) - TotalEnergies was preparing on Friday to restart the gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracker (FCC) over the weekend at its 238,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Port Arthur, Texas refinery, said people familiar with plant operations.

Following the FCC’s restart, the company plans to restart the refinery’s coker and small crude distillation unit (CDU), the sources said on Friday.

The 76,000-bpd FCC was shut by a leak and a clamp had to be fabricated, the sources said. The clamp was installed on Thursday.

The 60,000-bpd coker and 40,000-bpd ACU-2 CDU were shut after the FCC was idled, according to the sources. Once the coker restarts, ACU-2 will be brought back up into production.

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The TotalEnergies refinery has struggled since late November after the end of a three-month overhaul on the FCC.

It struggled to resume full production until being hit by a plantwide power outage on Jan. 16. The refinery returned to normal production by Feb. 21 following the outage.

TotalEnergies reported that two sulfur recovery units malfunctioned on March 7, according to a notice to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

ACU-2 is the smaller of two CDUs that begin the refining process by breaking down crude oil into feedstocks for all other units at the refinery.

The FCC uses a fine powder catalyst to convert gas oil under high heat and pressure into gasoline.

The coker converts residual crude oil from distillation units into either feedstocks to make motor fuels or petroleum coke, which can be a substitute for coal.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Chris Reese)